This is a great art rap Barry and a topic I've had on my mind.  I think your 
perspective has merit.  You are talking more about the inside of the artist, 
and I will talk about the outer expression.  I would like to add two things 
that apply across art forms.

One is that technical skill in itself can be entertaining but can also come off 
as superficial if the artist is not using it for a deeper purpose.  But the 
combination allows for an expression of not just more subtle things, but the 
kind of subtext mix that is closer to how people feel.

Examples would be the way an actor can portray not only the joy of winning but 
as a sub-emotion the embarrassment of so much attention on them.  Meryle Streep 
is famous for the ability to convey two things at once, something under the 
surface that draws us into a question about her characters. You can't sum up 
the Mona Lisa as 
"happy chick". There is so much more being expressed by her expression and 
pulling that off so even a cretin like me can recognize it is not easy. 

So for a velvet painting to be what I consider the best art, it would have to 
have two things with the second thing more important.  First the actual 
painting technique would have to be subtle enough to be able to express the 
kind of detailed depth I am talking about.  It would have to be able to express 
not only Elvis' grinning magnetic charm and confidence, but somehow, like the 
enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, express his inner conflicts, something in how 
the eyes mismatch the smile, that would let us know that there is something 
under the surface of this star's megawatts.  Something human that touches us 
and that we can recognize in ourselves.

And Elvis had this quality in his personality.  No matter how much he embraced 
his star quality on stage, he always conveyed a slight smirking inside joke 
vibe, that let you know he wasn't taking himself completely seriously.  It was 
endearing and would be very hard to capture in art.

That is always my goal in music.  To express more than one feeling in the 
complexity of songs about relationships and life's mortality.  And the early 
bluesmen had this quality, both in their lyrics and in their style of 

"I've got a kindhearted woman, do anything in the world for me,  
I've got a kindhearted woman, do anything in the world for me,
But those evil-hearted women, they will not let me be.

I've got a kindhearted woman, but she studies evil all the time,
Ive got a kindhearted woman, but she studies evil all the time,
Ya wells to kill me baby, just to have it on your mind."

Robert Johnson 1936-37

I look forward to the Paris art reports.  My favorite museum there was near the 
Eiffel Tower I think, the small impressionist museum.  

--- In, turquoiseb <no_reply@...> wrote:
> What makes art Art? What is it that differentiates a velvet Elvis
> painting from the Mona Lisa? They're both just portraits of a smiling
> person, after all, but one is kitch and the other is Art.
> My theory is that the thing that makes art Art is the same thing that
> makes the ordinary extraordinary, and that makes enlightenment
> Enlightenment -- how much attention you bring to the experience, paired
> with how much you bring to the relating of the experience to others.
> The ordinary really isn't. There are no such things as ordinary days and
> extraordinary days; there are only days. What turns the former into the
> latter is just paying attention, and noticing that *every* day is
> extraordinary. And it's the same thing with enlightenment; nothing
> whatsoever changes, except your perception of everything.
> So, to expand upon my theory, just noticing that the ordinary is and has
> always been extraordinary isn't Art. Just noticing that you have always
> already been enlightened isn't Art. Both are purely subjective
> experiences; only the person experiencing them experiences them.
> It's when you attempt to convey these subjective experiences to others
> that Art happens. If you can bring the same level of attention that you
> brought to noticing the extraordinary and noticing enlightenment to the
> attempt to convey it to others, *then* you have the possibility of
> creating Art.
> What distinguishes the velvet Elvis painting from the Mona Lisa is the
> degree of attention the painters brought to the creation of them. If
> they did a good job, the extraordinary or enlightened visions they
> experienced subjectively somehow get captured in the artwork, and "come
> through" the painting, such that other people can get a sense of the
> artist's subjective experience. That's my theory, anyway. How you see
> things don't mean shit, and don't make you an artist. But if you can
> manage to allow other people to see things the way you see them,
> sometimes that becomes Art.
> Paris is a great town for art. There are 204 museums in the city (not
> just 153 as Wikipedia thinks), and all of them are open FOR FREE one
> evening a week and one day a week. I'm looking forward to cruising a few
> of them. If I find any of them extraordinary, I'll try to report my
> subjective experience here, and see whether anyone can catch a buzz off
> of it.

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